After nearly four years of rocking audiences and blowing the roof off arenas, KISS’s final tour will soon be coming to an end. For frontman Gene Simmons, the experience has been amazing and he’s looking to the future.
ET’s Cassie DiLaura sat down with Simmons over the weekend, during his big 74th birthday bash at Pinz Bowling Alley in Studio City, California, where the rocker was using the occasion of his special day to raise money for the non-profit organization Mending Kids.
With KISS’ End of the Road World Tour set to wrap up on Dec. 2 with a final show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Simmons says he feels “great and grateful” for getting to perform for as long as he has.
“There’s a great sense of pride. The idea that anybody would give me a chance… to be able to get a job that allows you to wear more makeup and higher heels than you ever wore and get paid well for it,” Simmons said with a laugh. “It doesn’t get better than that.”
“But when you’ve been doing it for 50 years, half a century, have a little dignity,” Simmons added, explaining the thought process behind ending the tour and closing the book on KISS. “Get off the stage before it’s too late. So, [I’m] still looking good. Hair’s there. A little less hair, but it’s there.”
However, just because this facet of his life is coming to a close doesn’t mean Simmons is retiring. The celebrated rocker has a lot of other irons in the fire.
“Well we actually have a restaurant chain called Rock & Brews,” Simmons, who co-founded the chain with bandmate Paul Stanley, among others. “And I have a film company, Simmons/Hamilton [Productions].”
“I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” Simmons beamed. “I’m deliriously happy.”
One thing Simmons said he was particularly happy about was getting the opportunity to use his birthday bash to raise money for Mending Kids, a charitable group he feels particularly passionate about.
“There’s an important thing going on, and that is everybody who comes here to bowl knows that I don’t want anything. I’m blessed, I don’t need gifts, I don’t need anything. I’m the luckiest guy in the world. My family’s healthy and happy. But there are children out in the world… who cannot afford and don’t have insurance,” Simmons said. “just take a moment and understand that. [Because] mendingkids.org needs your dollars.”
“It’s completely free, so no money for anybody else or anything. Doctors are contributing their time, me too, and you’re saving children’s lives,” Simmons continued. “Mending Kids, over the last few years, has literally saved or improved over 5,000 children’s lives. And you can imagine the impact that has on the mothers who, all of a sudden, see a chance for their young children to become doctors and lawyers, and you’re improving life.”
Those interesting in donating or learning more about the organization can visit MendingKids.Org.